Ryan H. Walsh: Astral Weeks

A free copy of this book from the publisher I got this book because I am an epic fan of the album Astral Weeks and Van Morrison I didn t know that it was almost entirely a history of Boston a city I know and love in 1968 If I knew Morrison lived in Cambridge Massachusetts at some point I d forgotten So what is there not to love about this book plentyAs other reviewers have noted this is not a book about Astral Weeks and Morrison The first chapter and the final chapter do focus on the man and the album and throughout the book there are episodes featuring Morrison A lot of the book is about Mel Lyman and the Fort Hill Community a bizarre urban commune revolving around Lyman who considered himself God There is a history of the Bosstown Sound psychodelic rock and the various bandsI knew almost none of this history as I didn t move to Boston til the mid 70 s For that reason I found a lot of this history interesting As a fan of Morrison many of the details were interesting and unfamiliar But at the end it was not a book that lived up to the promise of the title What do The Jim Kweskin Jug Band The Velvet Underground Van Morrison the Mob The Bosstown sound and an LSD based cult have in common They were all active in Boston in 1968 I like many others read this because I thought it was going to be about the making of the album Astral Weeks While it is touches on Van preparing to make that album it is really about the underground scene in Boston While that year in San Francisco has been extensively written about this is kind of an untold story and a fascinating one It was not what I was expecting but a great story and a fun read I did not expect it to be so beautifully writtenBackground I graduated HS in the summer of 1968 in a town nearby to Boston and hid in my room and lived thru my radio I visualized a lot of this since I could not get to Boston thenThe story is really about Boston popular culture in 1968 than about Van Morriso. Rolled the lives of his many followers via acid astrology and an underground newspaper called AvatarA mesmerizing group of boldface names pops to life in Astral Weeks James Brown uells tensions the night after Martin Luther King is assassinated; the real life crimes of the Boston Strangler come to the movie screen via Tony Curtis; Howard Zinn testifies for Avatar in the courtroom From life changing concerts and chilling crimes to acid experiments and hippie entrepreneurs Astral Weeks is the secret wild history of a uniue time and place.

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Astral Weeks Í BOOK AUTHOR Ryan H. Walsh – 10a.us

My friend ust wrote this one up so did I for The Baffler I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways There were so many interesting stories and back stories in this book that it either needed to be longer or to shorten its scope The Fort Hill Community alone could have taken up the entire book as could Van Morrison and his time in Boston Trying to mash them together though in time period they really were in sync does them both a disservice Then you throw in everything else that was happening at around the same time Dylan goes electric Timothy Leary s LSD experiments Richard Alpert s spiritual uests MLK s assassination the creation of the Black Panthers the manufacture of the Bosstown Sound and that s Im Not Millie! just some of it and everything gets kind ofumbled and glossed over The interviews are fantastic and what does emerge from this portrait of a year is very good but it needed either pages or less subject matter I found this book utterly riveting I had no idea about the Lyman compound or any of the bands profiled here The best nonfiction books feel like stories and this one did I enjoyed the book but the title is a misnomer It is a collection of chapters on the various counterculture happenings in Boston in 1968 It spends a lot time on the Mel Lyman cult than it does on Astral Weeks but it is never less than interesting This book talked about a LOT of things I love I did want to hear a little about the general population and their experience of Boston in 1968 in contrast to the hippies and cult members and musicians he talks about here The chapter on movies and the Boston strangler was my favorite because of that bigger picture stuff Guys my phone s notes that were recording my thoughts on this book read on a long train ride several weeks ago I ve been lazy about reviews got accidentally deleted So this will be a real short reviewBasically it was adeuate for what it was but ultimately the people written ab. A mind expanding dive into a lost chapter of 1968 featuring the famous and forgotten Van Morrison folkie turned cult leader Mel Lyman Timothy Leary James Brown and many Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese In his first book acclaimed rock musician and ournalist Ryan H Walsh unearths the album's fascinating backstory along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed

Out are a bunch of sociopathic wankers and I m not altogether interested in their lives I only read this because it s set in Boston where I live and I ve seen a lot of excited reviews about it The musicians and cult leaders written about are basically losers who accidentally got famous because they were lucky or disturbingly charismatic not because they had anything substantial to say fight me This book uotes Van Morrsion himself in saying something about how all his music was ust drunk ramblings and had no meaning Cannot cite because well page numbers deleted But it happened The writing was fine It was pretty clearly written but I can t say it held my attention I m not sure if that s purely because of the content or whether this was compounded by the writing style I think the fact that it A River of Royal Blood (A River of Royal Blood, jumped around between various 60s celebrities made it less engaging for me Whatever If this era is your thing have at it I didn t love itEdit Iust remembered one thing of note they talk about Mel Lyman and his Fort Hill community cult Fort Hill with its Disney princess worthy Bavarian style castle tower randomly dropped in a park in a neighborhood in Boston near me is actually one of my favourite places in Boston I had no idea the history of the area including the fact that many of the cult members still live on the properties that border the park Definitely something I m going to think about next time I m there I don t know for whom this book is intended The title is clearly designed to lure fans of Van Morrison and the lure worked on me However there is actually very little about Morrison and his work in this book Instead there is a lot of random information about people and events in Boston around the same time that Morrison was there There are gangsters a folk music cult happenings psychedelic public television a bank robbery and LSD I couldn t have cared less about any of it and abandoned the book after about 130 pages I received. T Boston 1968On the 50th anniversary of that tumultuous year Walsh's book follows a criss crossing cast of musicians and visionaries artists and hippie entrepreneurs from a young Tufts English professor who walks into a ob as a host for TV's wildest show one episode reuired two sets each tuned to a different channel to the mystically inclined owner of radio station WBCN who believed he was the reincarnation of a scientist from Atlantis Most penetratingly powerful of all is Mel Lyman the folk music star who decided he was God then cont.